Moving into the World

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Forms of practice

Walking meditation

A practice of walking meditation dovetails with the path of moving into the world.

Mindful walking is an accessible introductory discipline, an actual experience of intentional movement, and a clear indication that practice continues off the meditation cushion. It is especially effective outdoors in a natural setting with a group. Thich Nhat Hanh offers the following guidelines:

Choose a nice road for your practice, along the shore of a river, in a park, on the flat roof of a building, in the woods, or along a bamboo fence. Such places are ideal, but they are not essential. I know there are people who practice walking meditation in reformation camps, even in small prison cells.

It is best if the road is not too rough or too steep. Slow down and concentrate on your steps. Be aware of each move. Walk straight ahead with dignity, calm, and comfort. Consciously make an imprint on the ground as you step. Walk as the Buddha would.

A Guide to Walking Meditation


Meditating on loving kindness

Another practice that reflects the spirit of this path is a meditation conducive to the cultivation of loving kindness (metta). The basic instructions are straightforward.

After taking a seated position in which you are comfortable yet alert, use the breath or a comparable method to quiet the mind. Mentally repeat the following phrases, savoring their meaning: May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be filled with loving kindness. When you feel ready, direct these compassionate thoughts to another person, perhaps a parent or beloved family member. Picture that person and recite the same phrases: May she be happy. May she be well .... In this manner, the exercise can be extended indefinitely. Vipassana meditation teacher Jack Kornfield advises:

You can gradually begin to include others: friends, community members, neighbors, people everywhere, animals, the whole Earth, and all beings. Then you can even experiment with including the most difficult people in your life, wishing that they, too, be filled with loving kindness and peace.